One time this unplanned event happened was during my dual career as (single) parent and broadcaster. While living in the "big smoke" (decades before the internationally shameful "Cirque du Ford"), I had arranged for my little boy to attend a Saturday morning children's art class at Harbourfront.
To quell any anxiety he would have, I assured him I'd stay in the same building, be there as soon as his class was over and we'd have a treat by having lunch at the Amsterdam Cafe in the same facility.
When the time came we headed to the self-serve line and picked what we'd like, then head with food trays around the corner to a large room with tables. As soon as we landed at one of the few remaining vacant spots, a band came out and started tuning. Didn't pay much attention, including to the lead singer, a female dressed in western gear (skirt, vest) with fringe.
As soon as they began, I immediately stopped eating, took in the tightest band I had ever heard, and the singer's voice that was clear, strong, beautiful and fresh...... an amazing quality of power and sweetness, lush -- sensual too. I commented to "the little guy" that I had never heard anything like it, including how tight all of them were. With their energy, riveting tunes and quality, they couldn't help to soon explode into the top North American music scene. I could feel the goosebumps on the back of my neck.
The next time I was on the air (CFRB) I described (atmosphere, dress, band, music) what I'd witnessed, sharing my experience of a new discovery with one of the largest audiences in North America. Was this the first time this singer and her polished band were noticed by and mentioned in major media?
A few weeks later (and a little under the weather with a cold) I was flipping channels late at night, on my little-used TV. I stopped at the Tonight Show, where JOHNNY CARSON was about to introduce a guest. My jaw dropped when the curtain opened to that same band and lead singer. He welcomed a Canadian named "K. D. LANG" and she actually was sitting at a table with a cigaret burning on an ashtray, and sang about a heart-tugging breakup. The audience went wild. In no time, the rest was history as hit albums poured out; icons such as ROY ORBISON and TONY BENNETT lined up to do duets with her.
Fast-forward in time and (like a world Google map as you hit the "+" button to hone in on Canada, Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia, then South Shore). As your image takes form, a young girl is singing at the Heritage Bandshell and later in the Folk Harbour Youth Concert at the Pearl Theatre, both in Lunenburg. Her name is CLAIRE JAWORSKI.
Still a kid (early teens) but with incredible natural talent, I'm thinking this is k.d. lang back in rural Alberta.... standing in front of microphones and maybe just a few people in audiences at school auditoriums, church basements, community centres, local rodeos and livestock auctions, festivals, even half-time at local school games. JAWORSKI-LANG..... this is the real deal, but locals see her (them) everywhere, that they notice but may think.... "that kid's got talent BUT....... it's a tough world out there and hardly anyone makes it". Or they quickly grow up, get a part-time job at the local hardware store on weekends, then maybe full time at a luncheonette till someone comes along, sweeps them off their feet, babies and unplanned obligations-hurdles take over, hand-to-mouth survival kicks in.
Yet the fighter in them (most days) is stronger; the private lessons, practicing and working (for free) resets the compass after each disappointment or challenge. Parents, siblings, best friends keep supporting, encouraging them on. The growth seems miniscule to many, until suddenly they catch their act they haven't seen in awhile. Something new, something more mature, well-honed, growing (bursting, really) is now taking over..... as unstoppable as a bullet train.
When I heard a recently mixed version of "Happy" I sensed this is CAROLE KING..... (now 16) young, fresh, unstoppable, today. Then "Waiting" was the next CLAIRE JAWORSKI tune that stopped me dead in my tracks.
I cajoled, hounded, pestered the Otitus Media producer David Findlay and executive producer David Friendly to beg permission from CLAIRE, her manager, parents, the prime minister if need be, to let us air (if not world premier) these magnificent modern pieces. We did. While CLAIRE JAWORSKI co-hosted our show (podcast # 67) we (hopefully) made music history as we launched CLAIRE's milestone work.
Check it out. Hearing is believing. "The first time ever, I heard........"